The sandwich shop made famous by its owner’s frequent appearances on the “Late Show with David Letterman” is looking to call it quits.
The New York Post is reporting that “Hello Deli” owners are heading for retirement after 31 years. One of them, Rupert Jee, appeared on the Letterman show more than 400 times.
“It has been a heck of an adventure,” Jee told The Post on Thursday. “The office workers were extremely loyal, the ‘Late Show’ fans were amazing. We got the best of both worlds.”
Jee and partner May Chin are looking to sell the deli. They announced the farewell with a simple statement on Instagram in March: “Hello Deli: Retiring.” Jee is 66. No age has been given for Chin. The business is still operating while it seeks a buyer.
There is no asking price listed for the business.
“We’re going to pick and choose. I want someone who really has an appreciation for that area and sees that potential,” Jee said
The business is located in the same building as the Ed Sullivan Theater, where Letterman held his show starting in 1993. The next month, he aired a segment called “Let’s Meet The Neighbors,” and visited the adjacent deli. Jee appeared on the TV show for the first time that night.
Jee showed a natural flair for comedy, and after a year of cameos, began to become involved in the elaborate street sketches that Letterman’s show loved to stage, prompting Jee into outrageous actions with unsuspecting New Yorkers.
That eventually evolved into his own segment, “Fun with Rupert.”
“Dave always joked that whenever they were out of ideas, they’d come to the deli,” Jee said.
Letterman’s show concluded in 2015. It is remembered at the deli with a special sandwich, The Letterman: ham, turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato, sweet pepper and oil and vinegar, which Letterman ordered on whole wheat after some initial reluctance.